Here’s a story from the amazing Amy describing her experiences with endometriosis and how it led to her changing her life in quite a radical way.
“When I was studying at the University of Manchester, I could imagine my future as nothing other than a dedicated teaching career – it was inconceivable for me to do anything else. I graduated and qualified as a Secondary teacher of Religious Studies and Geography in 2002 and plunged straight into a full time job as a newly qualified teacher.
A few years later, the stresses of a teaching career and an unidentified chronic illness started to kick in. During my early twenties, I couldn’t understand why I was feeling exhausted all of the time,and I just put it down to the fast-paced career. The long hours, the behaviour problems and the politics. I still loved being in the classroom with the kids, but it was taking it’s toll.
Symptoms of endometriosis
Over the next few years, I started to experience crippling abdominal pain and repeated kidney infections. I was feeling exhausted and depressed. I still loved my job, but had this overwhelming feeling of not being able to cope anymore. I was diagnosed with endometriosis in my mid-twenties without a real explanation of what it was or how to many the disease.
Impact of endometriosis
In the years that followed, I had time off work for agonising period pain, stress and depression, not realising that they were linked to the disease. In was then put on the hormonal injection depoprovera which made me gain weight, get insomnia and start to have panic attacks. I lost my job and split up with my long term partner without a true understanding of what was happening.
Thankfully, a year later, I managed to repair the relationship and got back together with my now fiance. I feel that all of the physical and emotional turmoil was due to the endometriosis and the NHS’s lack of ability to manage and treat the disease. I changed my endometriosis medication and attempted a new teaching job down south, near my
family in Oxford. I still loved teaching the kids about culture, religion and the world, but again just a few months in, I was struggling to cope. I started to suffer from migraines and short term memory loss, which looking back was probably related to the energy that it was taking to get through every day in pain. It was when I almost collapsed in front of a class, and came home physically shaking and being sick that I started to realise that my career might not be compatible with my condition.
I finally admitted defeat and put in my application to retire on medical grounds. With the support of my family I battled against several medical professionals who didn’t appear to know what they were talking about. A year later I successfully had my lower grade teachers pension approved. It was agreed that I could work, but I couldn’t teach, and therefore I was entitled to a basic pension to support myself after a 13 years career. It was heart-breaking, but also a relief at the same time.
Moving on positively after an endometriosis diagnosis
I then moved back up North and started to work for myself online doing blogging and social media. It was something that could fit in with my illness and I could even work from bed! I set up Trumpeter Media and did a BTEC in social media for business. I loved learning something new. Clients started to come to me for help, and also asked me to teach them!I have to admit that the transition was initially hard for me, and I found it difficult to move forward. I
had two laparoscopic surgeries and I’m currently awaiting a full excision surgery and bowel resection.
Quite often, though, high impact events shake you up and force you to realise what is important in life. I knew that more than anything, I wanted to travel. The following summer I travelled solo through Turkey and Bulgaria, and it was the most liberating and amazing experience ever. Travelling solo, I was so proud of myself. | was doing something I was passionate about, and doing something completely for myself. In the two years that followed, I travelled to the Philippines, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Morocco and Israel. I loved it so much that I wanted to document my trip for people back home, and I loved to focus on historical and religious sites. And so my beloved
blog, Temple Seeker was born.
Looking back, I believe that everything happens for a reason. Now that I am essentially a digital nomad and can set my own itinerary and work schedule, I couldn’t imagine going back to long hours stuck in a classroom. The world is ready to be explored, and I now love what I do more than anything. Earning money on my laptop while I blog for Temple Seeker and travelling the world is truly the dream!”
I love how Amy’s story shows that with the right diagnosis and treatment of a heath issue life can improve. I love her enthusiasm for travel and how she shares that with other people. Here’s to changing direction when it works out so well!
Have you changed your life after a health issue hit?
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